Joining National Day of Protest, Columbus Residents Declare an Economic Emergency for the 99% [Progress]


Decaying Bridges are Symbol of Congress’s Failure to Put People Back to Work

Columbus, OH – After votes by Congress to block President Barack Obama’s jobs plan, and on the eve of the Super Committee’s expected recommendations to enact more job-killing budget cuts, unemployed workers and local residents joined protestors nationwide in declaring an “Economic Emergency for the 99%.” Columbus residents marched across the structurally deficient I-71 overpass on East Broad Street today, calling on Congress to create jobs, stop cuts, and make Wall Street banks pay.

The group gathered at The First Congregational Church to hear stories from unemployed and underemployed citizens and then peacefully marched to the overpass to illustrate the “structurally deficient” infrastructure, and others like it, needs work and so do 25 million Americans.

The march was part of a national day of protest at decaying bridges against policies that have enriched the 1% richest Americans and impoverished the 99%. In cities across America people are holding marches and sit-ins at bridges and other sites in need of repair to protest the inaction of Congress, the treatment of Wall Street banks and to demand that Americans be put back to work now.

“The economy, the banks and our leaders are failing the 99%,” said John Reat, a former information technology manager with a Master’s degree whose job was downsized. “We can’t wait any longer for action. We need jobs – not more budget cuts. The overpass needs repair and is a symbol of our leaders’ failure to pass a jobs bill or do anything to help the 99%, while the bankers and other members of the 1% keep getting richer.”

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Next week, the Congressional Super Committee is scheduled to release plans that will make deep budget cuts that could kill millions of more jobs, cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and worsen the economic emergency facing the 99%.

Coby Williams, Outreach Coordinator at ProgressOhio, was among the organizers. “There are unemployed people right here in Columbus who could be put to work repairing this overpass,” said Williams. “Instead of siding with the people of Columbus, Washington politicians like Senator Portman are siding with the Wall Street banks that created this mess, and trying to pass more job-killing budget cuts. Until we start seeing jobs here in Columbus, and until the economy starts working for people who work for a living, we’re going to keep protesting.”

John Reat, a former manager and Vice President in the engineering and technology fields until his company downsized, participated in the march. “Instead of taking away people’s jobs, and their Medicare and Social Security, we should be putting people back to work and making Wall Street banks pay for wrecking the economy.”

In Columbus, the Broad Street and I-71 overpass is a vivid example of the many roads, schools and other infrastructure sites in need of repair nationwide. Unemployed workers and local residents have held multiple rallies near infrastructure classified as being “structurally deficient” to call attention to the urgent need to create jobs by putting people to work repairing bridges and other infrastructure. Many of these projects are highlighted on the website where Americans in Columbus and nationwide have uploaded pictures of roads, bridges, parks, schools and other structures that could be repaired and help put people back to work.


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